In any book store there is always a section on travel guides. This can be divided into guides on a global and international scale, guides on a national scale within the country and finally guides on a local scale.
The international section is always varied as the books are going to cater for different ages and of course different price brackets. The most mobile of travellers are the young. Those people who are breaking free from the shackles of family life and are in-between university and their first big job. It is the time in people’s life when they are likely to do a big trip.
In the past these may have been European trips, or North American trips or even around the world trips. The continuing advancements in world travel has made these trips easier to organise and more affordable. It is important to distinguish between travel books and travel guides. A travel book will be a report on a visit to a particular area but written in a style of what actually happened. It differs from the guide book as it will actually list options of what is available, where it is available and at what price.
A good example of a travel book is Naples 44 written by Norman Lewis. Lewis arrive in Naples in 1944 as an intelligence officer employed by the army to liaise with the locals. Naples is a war-torn city and Lewis records how the people are so desperate that respectable women are driven to prostitution.
In recording his time spent in this Southern Italian City, he portrays a feeling that despite the desperation of the circumstances the beauty of the country and its people shines through. He is clearly inspired by a city ravaged by war and given this time again he would happily reside there.
This historical account of one man’s experiences is totally different from today’s travel guides. The Lonely Planet Guides are found in nearly every book store. The book was created by Maureen and Tony Wheeler after a trip through Europe, Asia and Australia in 1972 and is now the world biggest travel book.
It has been bought by the American company NC2 Media and has now sold over 120 million books. It is primarily aimed at backpackers and other low budget travellers giving the reader options available in a certain city or country. Whether it be travel, or accommodation, or eating, or things to do the book covers each area in great detail. It will have different options for different budgets and each year when hundreds and thousands of back packers set off on their adventures, many pack their Lonely Planet guide in their ruck sacks.
Not every traveller is on a low budget and some guides are aimed at those with deeper pockets. A good example is the DK Travel Guides that has guides to over 200 destinations with many aimed at the major cities. This type of guide may not suit every pocket but will give more choices to those with more funds available to them.
Travel is a booming world-wide business. Long gone are the days when the average family would only be able to afford one trip a year which would probably be in the to a destination same country. Due to greater affluence and cheaper travel, overseas trips are booming, and this is reflected by the range of reading material found on travel in book stores.